A Difficult Weekend In Scotland
It was perhaps a sign that it was going to be a challenging weekend all round as we encountered a two hour delay before our flight to Scotland. This meant that we did not actually arrive at circuit until 12.30am so it was straight to bed in predation for the first free practice and qualification on Friday.
Despite a little tiredness the session started well enough, with me managing to keep pace with the top ten timings. For most of the session I maintained a solid 11th place but unfortunately I dropped away a little towards the end and struggled to make up the places. This decline continued in the qualification session where I was dogged by some set up issues, especially in the all-important first bend. There were some settings problems in general with the bike not handling well at all, especially in the corners. The overall times were close but unfortunately I finished the session way down in 24th place.
That evening we attempted to change some of the settings to hopefully improve things and get a little more pace the next day. However, on Saturday morning the forecast for the session was not good, so the chances of improving the times and starting position were not particularly positive.
In the event it did stay dry but the overall circumstances again were still far from ideal with poor weather and some more issues with the bike. However the session went quite well and I was one of the few riders to improve in the conditions, eventually moving up to 17th. Not what I had hoped for but a big improvement from Friday and I was pretty happy with this place given all the challenges. That evening we made some more adjustments and changed the gearbox, as one of the problems in qualifying had been the bike jumping out of gear. This made for yet another late night but hopefully this would benefit me in the actual races
In race one I managed to get a great start and made up a number of places in the early laps. All was going well until exiting the chicane I suffered a massive highside, only just managing to hang on. This moment meant that I lost a number of places and took a few laps to recover. As the race wore on I managed to get back within the pack and entered a highly enjoyable duel with Stephen Cambell and some of the other guys. However unfortunately for Stephen he fell off right in front of me, meaning that I had to take evasive action to avoid hitting him. This again cost me some places and I lost contact with the leading pack. I did manage to regain a couple of places in the closing laps and came in an eventual 14th.
Race two began in almost the same way with a good solid start enabling me to make up a few places on the opening laps. However I did not mange to settle in as I would have liked and so lost a few positions in a very quick paced race. However as the laps progressed I found my pace and began to feel more conformable on the bike which helped me to gradually gain some ground. By the closing stages of the race I was lapping at the same pace as most of the top ten riders and finished a decent 12th place. Given the difficulties that we had faced in all areas over the weekend I was more than satisfied with this as a result.
The bad luck continued after the races when our return flight from Edinburgh was cancelled. After a four hour train journey we arrived at our alternative airport to find the flight from Manchester had been cancelled also! We eventually were booked on to yet another flight, getting home a 9pm Monday evening.
Next up is the Snetterton 300 track in Norfolk on the weekend on 8th-10th July. This another great circuit and I cannot wait to get there and hopefully push for a top ten result!
© NEngels text 2016